Infantry (video game)

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Infantry Online
Screenshot (from Mechanized Skirmish) of Infantry Online.

Screenshot (from Mechanized Skirmish) of Infantry Online.
Developer(s) Harmless Games LLC
Publisher(s) Sony Online Entertainment
Distributor(s) Station Pass
Designer(s) Player Content Team
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) 1999
Genre(s) Combat MMOG
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Infantry Online is a multiplayer combat video game[1] with sprite animation graphics, using complex soldier, ground vehicle and space-ship models on typically complex terrains.[2] Players may choose from a list of game zones to enter, each zone having a unique style of gameplay and many offering a wide diversity of weapons, player classes and objectives.[3] Infantry servers shut down in March 2012 and the game is now officially closed, though independent servers remain.

History[edit]

In 1997, the now-defunct development team Virgin Interactive Entertainment (VIE) released the 2D Space Shooter, SubSpace. Members of the SubSpace development team banded together afterwards to form Harmless Games LLC. This new team designed and released Infantry during the late '90s.

The game was developed and was picked up by Brainscan Development Corporation, also known as Brainscan Interactive, as publisher. GameFan, the parent company of Brainscan Interactive, went bankrupt. Sony Online Entertainment announced its acquisition of Infantry on October 5, 2000. Rod (Rodvik) Humble, the lead designer of Infantry, was offered a job with Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and left Harmless Games. Larry J. Cordner (LJC) also found another job, but stayed with the development team until shortly after Harmless Games was bought by SOE. Harmless Games, and its sole game, Infantry, was bought by SOE from Brainscan Interactive for an undisclosed sum. The two remaining developers, Jeff Petersen (programmer) and Jerimy Weeks (artist and zone designer), were hired by SOE to continue development of the game. Some time later, SOE had them develop Cosmic Rift (CR), an offshoot of Infantry meant to compete with the still popular SubSpace.[2] CR had gained a small portion of Infantry's and SubSpace's communities, but its population still paled in comparison. In October 2001, Petersen was transferred to EverQuest 2 development and Weeks later was laid off. Game development stagnated.[4]

In May 2002, SOE rehired Weeks and introduced a monthly $6.95 pay-to-play system for SOE's three small action games: Infantry, CR and Tanarus; however, both Infantry and Cosmic Rift remained free to play with limitations.[4] Infantry's and CR's populations have since declined drastically from daily highs of thousands at a time to a mere hundred or fewer players. In October 2005, Weeks was laid off again and a new developer was put to the task. Hope for the game's future was questionable, as the new developer was Joe Nelson, whose only prior experience with Infantry involved customer service duties, who held the position for only a few months. As of May 2006 there were three SOE employees delegated either full or part-time to the game: Bill Corning, Jose Araiza and recently re-hired developer Jerimy Weeks, although Weeks' contract with Sony Online Entertainment expired at the end of April 2007.[5]

In May 2007, Sony Online Entertainment announced full and free online gaming access to Infantry and the rest of their "Station Pass" games, starting on June 26, 2007.[6][7][8] "Station Pass" games started in May 2002 as a monthly $6.95 pay-to-play subscription, for Sony Online Entertainment's three action titles: Infantry, Cosmic Rift, and Tanarus. However, both Infantry and Cosmic Rift featured a free play mode that gave players access to a limited version of the game. Infantry itself was restricted to a limited playtime on servers (a player could only stay connected for half an hour before being disconnected), the inability to accumulate money, no statistical tracking and no personalized options. In July 2007, Sony Online Entertainment released a Map Editor for Infantry, available for free download via the official website.[9]

Alternative servers to the official Infantry Online have spawned over the recent years, initially to provide a free option to the game, most notably "Free Infantry".[10] However, with Sony Online Entertainment's announcement that has made Infantry and Cosmic Rift free of charge, the role of these servers transitioned to providing alternative maps and gameplay from the official server. They inevitably slowly faded out of existence as players went back to SOE's version of the game.

On February 29, 2012, via mass-email, Sony Online Entertainment said that they would shut down the Infantry Online servers at the end of March.

Since the closure of Infantry Online, a server known as Free Infantry Online has been created and maintained by players.

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

On 3 separate occasions Infantry won the MPOGD game of the month award. In June 2000, October 2000 and most recently January 2009 [11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Infantry; Official Infantry website.
  • Free Infantry; Free Infantry Website.
  • Infantry Arena; Infantry Arena - Client and server downloads, game info etc.
  • CTFPL; Capture the Flag Players League, the official website of CTFPL.
  • SL; Skirmish League, Official website for the SL zone league.
  • IGBL; Official Infantry GravBall League Site.